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Isla Vista Killing Spree Claims 7 Lives, Including Suspect


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We begin this hour in Isla Vista, Calif. The small college town near Santa Barbara continues to grieve this morning after a killing spree late Friday night. Authorities say 22-year-old Elliott Rodger apparently took his own life after killing six others and injuring 13. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports.

HANSI LO WANG, BYLINE: The rampage spanned a total of 10 locations near the campus of the University of California Santa Barbara as local County Sheriff Bill Brown explained at a press conference yesterday.


SHERIFF BILL BROWN: This was a chaotic, rapidly unfolding and convoluted incident that involved multiple crime scenes.

WANG: The first was Elliott Rodgers's apartment, which he shared with three male roommates. They were found stabbed to death. Sheriff Brown said that Rodger then got into his black BMW with three guns, all legally purchased and registered to his name. Rodger's next stop was the Alpha Phi sorority house.


BROWN: Several members of this sorority reported hearing loud and aggressive knocking at the front door, which lasted for one to two minutes.

WANG: Unable to enter the house, Rodger shot and killed two UC Santa Barbara students standing outside. They were 22-year-old Katherine Brianne Cooper and 19-year-old Veronika Elizabeth Weiss. The next victim was 20-year-old Christopher Ross Michael-Martinez, another UC Santa Barbara student who was shot and killed in a nearby deli. Michael-Martinez's father, Richard Martinez, read a statement yesterday before the Sheriff's press conference.


RICHARD MARTINEZ: You don't think it'll happen to your child until it does. Chris was a really great kid, ask anyone who knew him. His death has left our family lost and broken.

WANG: Later, on Friday night, Rodger raced through the streets of Isla Vista in his car, hitting cyclists and shooting at pedestrians and police officers, who returned fire. Eventually, his car crashed, and police found him dead with a gunshot wound to the head. The investigation into Rodger's motive is still underway, but Sheriff Bill Brown says Roger left clues in an online video and a 141-page manifesto describing his plans in chilling detail.


BROWN: It's very, very apparent that he was severely mentally disturbed when you review that document.

WANG: One that gives a disturbing look into Rodger's social isolation and hatred of women for rejecting him. An attorney representing the suspect's father told reporters on Saturday that Elliott Rodger had consulted with multiple therapists and a social worker about his mental health. According to Sheriff Brown, one of Rodger's family members requested deputies of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's office to check on Rodger's welfare a few weeks ago.


BROWN: The deputies contacted the suspect, at the time, found him to be polite and courteous. He downplayed the concerns for his welfare, and the deputies cleared the call.

WANG: The sheriff added that Rodger did not meet California state criteria for an involuntary hospitalization for his mental health. Hansi Lo Wang, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Hansi Lo Wang (he/him) is a national correspondent for NPR reporting on the people, power and money behind the U.S. census.